Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports
In 2012, the Patriots led the NFL in total offense (427.9 YPG), scoring offense (34.8 PPG), third-down conversion percentage (48.7) and red-zone TD percentage (70). They were the fourth team since 1991 to lead the league in all four categories. The previous three were the 1993 San Francisco 49ers (10-6), the 2000 St. Louis Rams (10-6) and the 2001 Rams (14-2). None of the four won the Super Bowl.
Since 2001, Tom Brady has thrown a touchdown pass to 46 different receivers, the most by any quarterback during that time and 12th most all time dating back to 1940. Steve Grogan ranks second among Patriots QBs with a touchdown pass to 34 different receivers, and Drew Bledsoe ranks third with 29.
While many people view Tom Brady as the best quarterback in Patriots' history, there are two franchise records he'll likely fail to break: quarterback rushing yards and quarterback rushing touchdowns. Those records belong to former Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan. During his 16-year career with the Patriots, Grogan had 445 carries for 2,176 yards and 35 TDs. Since Grogan retired after the 1990 season, the Patriots have started eight different quarterbacks, who have combined for 881 carries, 2,037 yards and 20 TDs. Grogan still ranks fourth on the Patriots' all-time rushing touchdowns list with 35. Grogan set the single-season mark for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in 1976 with 12, a record that stood until Cam Newton rushed for 14 in 2011.
Stevan Ridley's 1,263 rushing yards in 2012 were the second most in a season for a Patriots running back under Bill Belichick; only Corey Dillon in 2004 had more rushing yards with 1,635. During Belichick's era in New England, Ridley also is second in rushing attempts with 290 in 2012, again behind Corey Dillon in 2004 (345 rushes).
Super Bowl quarterbacks
Tom Brady is in elite company as one of only five quarterbacks in NFL history to win multiple Super Bowls without having a 1,000-yard receiver in the regular season. In his three Super Bowl-winning seasons (2001, 2003, 2004) Brady only had a 1,000-yard receiver once, in 2001 with Troy Brown (101 receptions, 1,199 yards, 5 TDs). The only other quarterbacks to accomplish this feat were Terry Bradshaw with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1974, 1975, 1978), Bob Griese with the Miami Dolphins (1972, 1973), Bart Starr with the Green Bay Packers (1966, 1967) and Roger Staubach with the Dallas Cowboys (1971, 1977).
On the eve of the 2013 season, Bill Belichick is tied with Marty Schottenheimer for the sixth-most wins (205 including postseason) among NFL head coaches. Last season, Belichick surpassed Dan Reeves (201) and Chuck Knox (193) and reached 200 wins in his 307th game, the fourth fastest of any coach in league history.
Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL
Including the 2008 season that Tom Brady missed due to injury, the Patriots have started just two quarterbacks since Brady took over the starting job in Week 2 of the 2001 season. The three other AFC East teams have combined to start 32 different quarterbacks since that time: Bills (8), Dolphins (16), Jets (8). In that span, the Patriots have suffered just 46 losses; the rest of the AFC East has combined for 318.
G. Newman Lowrance/Associated Press
Super Bowl Champions
Since the Patriots won their last championship (Super Bowl XXXIX to conclude the 2004 season), they have gone 8-7 in the playoffs -- including losing Super Bowls XLII and XLVI to the New York Giants. In the first five seasons under Belichick, the Patriots made the playoffs three times, going 9-0 en route to three Super Bowl triumphs.
With 48 straight games with a touchdown pass, Tom Brady is on pace to break Drew Brees' record of consecutive games with a touchdown pass (54) in Week 7 against the New York Jets. Compared to Brees' first 48 games during the streak, Brady holds a better record (39-9 vs. 34-14), has thrown fewer interceptions (24 vs. 51), and boasts a better passer rating (104.6 vs. 101.4) than Brees. It's only fitting that Brady would have a shot at breaking the record against the Jets, the team he first faced when replacing Drew Bledsoe as quarterback in 2001.
Michael Perez/Associated Press
Passing the ball
Over the past three seasons, Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski combined for 78 of Tom Brady's 109 TD passes (72 percent). With Welker and Hernandez no longer with the team, and Gronkowski recovering from offseason back and forearm surgery, Brady will rely on a group of wide receivers and tight ends who have combined for only 26 career TD receptions, one less than Gronkowski had in his first two seasons alone (27).
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